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Would the following sentence be idiomatic and correct?

At the conference, she became acquainted with more than 20 scholars, exhibiting excellent networking skills.

I was thinking saying something like "connected to more than X scholars". I'm just not sure which expression better conveys the meaning that she took the initiative to approach those scholars and got to know them.

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2 Answers 2

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I don't think that connected to is an appropriate synonym for became acquainted with: It's too informal and has connotations that cast aspersions on "her" character. I want to ask "How did she become connected to these scholars? Did she sleep with them? Did she marry one of them? Was she hired by one them? Did one of their universities hire her?"

The syntax of this sentence is strange, I think. Rather than

"At the conference, she became acquainted with more than 20 scholars, exhibiting excellent networking skills."

it should probably be

"At the conference, she exhibited excellent networking skills by becoming acquainted with more than twenty scholars."

Tacking "exhibiting excellent networking skills" to the end of the sentence is not good style, IMHO. It modifies nothing. Were it the introductory clause followed by "she became acquainted with... at the conference", then it would modify the following clause. Tacked on to the end of the sentence, though, it just seems ungrammatical to me. I know it's a popular construction for academic writers, because all my Taiwanese biomedical authors constantly use it in sentences that run something like this: "IL-6 levels were higher in group A than in group B, suggesting...." and I always change it to "which suggested that...." Okay, maybe it's just a pet peeve, but it seems to me to be a comma splice.

It'd be different in this sentence: "At the conference, she, exhibiting her excellent networking skills, became acquainted with more than twenty scholars". I still don't like it. The sentence is clunky. It reads poorly to my ears.

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Yeah, it's a lot more coherent to say "she exhibited...by becoming...". And it dawns on me that for many times I have written in the kind of "clunky" way. Got to fix it. Thanks Bill:) –  lessismore Dec 21 '12 at 8:59
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I agree with the proposed edit. The O.P.'s original sentence emphasized becoming acquainted with others at a conference. (Big deal; anyone but the purest introvert can do that.) The revised sentence emphasizes excellent networking skills. The main issue here is not connected vs becoming acquainted with – it's where the "excellent networking skills" are mentioned in the sentence: up front as the main point, or at the end, almost as an afterthought. –  J.R. Dec 21 '12 at 10:48

Who exhibited the excellent networking skills, ‘she’ or the ‘more than 20 scholars’? Assuming the first, a clearer way of putting it might be:

She has excellent networking skills. This was apparent in the way in which she became acquainted with more than 20 scholars at the conference.

Possible alternatives to became acquainted with are made contact with, exchanged contact details with, or simply met.

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Thank you Barrie. That's very helpful. (And yes, it's "she" who has the networking skills) –  lessismore Dec 21 '12 at 8:48

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